The West Coast Ensemble's dedication to new work continues with its ninth annual celebration of one-act plays. An alternating schedule of three series provides nine original pieces that showcase emerging talent.
In Series "A," the Ensemble provides the one-acts with first-rate performers and directors. However, both Gary Cearlock's "Thicker Than Water" (about a fundamentalist mother's destructive possessiveness) and Jules Tasca's "Hubie's Best Friend" (about college roommate's pursuit of Miss Right) resemble television scripts more than plays.
But Mitchell's brief 20-minute monologue, "Life Support," is a tour-de-force achievement. A man lies comatose in a hospital bed, devoured by AIDS-related illnesses. His former lover, Patrick (a heartbreaking Forrest Witt), enters with glib comments, party hats and the dying man's friends--urns filled with the ashes of other people who have died from AIDS. It's an Irish wake, a final rite before Patrick detaches the life-support machine, and it's unforgettable.
\o7 * "Ninth Annual Celebration of One-Act Plays," West Coast Ensemble, 6240 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Tuesday-Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 3 p.m. Call for exact program. Ends Dec. 19. $15. (213) 871-1052. Running time (series A): 2 hours.\f7